I was walking down one of the main streets in Tirana, as you do, well no, that’s silly. Anyway, let that go, the whole experience of visiting Tirana has to have a post of its own and I don’t seem ready to do that justice yet.
So there I was, walking (not really a cycle friendly city though quite a few people do cycle, though about 10% seem to stick to the pavements) and I looked ahead and saw this:
Hm, perhaps this is one situation in which I should upload full sized ‘photos. I switched lenses (I was doing the real rubbernecking tourist thing with a “proper camera” and even multiple lenses) and got this:
Honestly, that’s what it was, no “photoshopping” or trickery here. I’d never seen anything like it before in my life of gawping at pretty much anything. I wondered if there was a chimney I could see but it’s way too far away and too high. I got back to the hotel and googled. I put in “tornado between clouds” and, as almost always, wikipedia was offered me and had the answer. It’s not a tornado as it’s not coming down from a supercell cumulonimbus cloud, it turns out it’s a “cold air funnel cloud”. The page in wikipedia is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funnel_cloud
I found it oddly disturbing as I have a few times when I’ve seen quite remarkable cloud formations. I can understand why people read grave omens in the skies and some of the repeat nightmares I’ve had over my life have involved dramatic shearing open of the skies. I guess it, and tornados, are iconic cinematic sequences, are they memes? Never quite sure when I can use that word. I do have a sense that that nightmare image goes back so far it may well antedate my having seen such things in a cinema or on a TV screen. Goes right back to the recurrent nightmare of greasy white snakes with square section bodies. Ah now, there’s a grand blog post some day.
By the way, if you’re walking around Tirana, don’t walk and gawp upwards at once: the pavements are pretty damaged and occasionally have gaping holes or trenches you could disappear in if you gawped up too much and neglected your footing. Fortunately, formative years gawping more down than up up, looking for fossils on the beach in South Wales seems to mean that I am immune to that danger. Now tramlines though, they’re a different enemy, but that too will have to wait for another time!
Afterthought (19.xii.16): if you are Albanian or work with Albanian speakers and want to know more about the CORE-OM and YP-CORE in Albanian, go to the Albanian translation page on the CST web site. It was work around that which took me to Tirana.